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Jehangir Karamat to miss Bush visit

March 03, 2006

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ISLAMABAD, March 2: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Gen (rtd) Jehangir Karamat will not be in the reception line at the Chaklala Airbase to welcome President George Bush.

This was confirmed by Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam when this correspondent asked her about reports to that effect. She maintained that since Ambassador Karamat had been busy tying up details of the presidential visit with the US authorities at that end, he decided not to come.

Ambassador Karamat’s not being here at this crucial time has raised some eyebrows and questions in the diplomatic circles. Usually ambassadors arrive a few days ahead of such important visits and also participate in the formal delegation-level talks.

However, the official line remains that there is nothing unusual about it. That it is not a big issue.

Ambassadors do not always come for such high-profile visits, the Foreign Office maintains.

However, observers find it rather bizarre that for the most important top-level political visit from Washington, our ambassador to the US should be missing in action.—Q.A.